It’s currently World Glaucoma Week (6-12 March)… but what is glaucoma?
Month 9 | Glaucoma

It’s currently World Glaucoma Week (6-12 March)… but what is glaucoma? This month, as part of our Right to Sight campaign with CBM UK, we’re learning all about this eye condition and what CBM and their partner eye hospitals in lower income countries are doing to protect people from glaucoma and prevent them from going irreversibly blind.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which carries visual information from the eye to the brain.  Over time, increased pressure inside the eyeball causes a slow death of nerve fibres. It leads to eye pain, headaches, sickness and loss of vision.

It is vital that glaucoma is diagnosed promptly and treated effectively as without treatment glaucoma causes permanent blindness. Damage to the optic nerve cannot be repaired, but treatment can halt the progress of the disease and prevent further sight loss.

An estimated 76 million people worldwide have glaucoma. 6.9 million of them are blind or visually impaired as a result of the condition [WHO World Report on Vision 2019]. People living in developing countries are much more likely to lose their sight to glaucoma, due to lack of access to eye tests and treatment.

What help is needed?

Glaucoma is treated with eye drops, laser treatment or surgery, which relieves pressure on the optic nerve and stops the condition from advancing further.

CBM UK is working in the world’s poorest places to protect people from glaucoma and other blinding conditions, working with eye hospitals and other local partners to:

  • Improve access to eye tests and screening so glaucoma is diagnosed before it’s too late.
  • Enable people with glaucoma to access sight-saving treatment, including through outreach camps in remote places far from the nearest hospital.
  • Develop more effective treatment for Glaucoma by supporting the first trial of laser treatment in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Train specialist doctors, nurses and other health workers to identify and treat eye conditions like glaucoma, and equip hospital eye departments, especially in rural areas.

Find out more about the pioneering laser treatment trial supported by CBM.

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